Director of the Welsh NHS Confederation, Darren Hughes, has warned that the NHS in Wales still remains in a “very precarious position” despite the latest figures showing cases in the devolved nation continuing to fall.
He warned that a significant amount of NHS bed capacity in Wales was being used for Covid-19 patients and as such any further spike would still seriously affect the region.
Often, there is a lag between infection rates and hospital admissions, meaning although cases are beginning to fall in Wales, the impact of this on hospital cases will not be felt for a week or two after the fact. As such, calls for caution by the general population have been reiterated.
Dr Hughes said: “While we are seeing positive news in that cases in Wales continue to fall, around one third of hospital beds in Wales are still being taken up with coronavirus patients.
“That means a significant amount of NHS resource is still being utilised to treat people with coronavirus, with an inevitable reduction in capacity to deal with other serious health issues.
“We also need to commit an enormous amount of resource to the vaccination programme, with more people already receiving a coronavirus vaccine than we would normally see in a standard flu season.
“The NHS in Wales stands ready to vaccinate as many people as we can, as quickly as we can and as safely as we can. We know there will be bumps in the road, including around the supply of vaccines over the coming weeks and months.
“This does mean however, that the NHS in Wales remains in a very precarious position.
“We know lockdowns are hard for people and that they have consequences on livelihoods and people’s wellbeing. However, we do now have some hope for a brighter 2021 and we need the public to continue to support us and respect the restrictions while we roll out the vaccines.
“This is not just to protect you and your families from coronavirus, but it is also so we can treat as many people as possible with other significant health issues. We cannot afford to go backwards now.”